The Sweetwater Red Devils and Southwest Raiders each picked up their first wins of the 2017 high school football season last Friday.
Both victories came on the road.
The Devils, winless in their three previous non-league contests, rang up a convincing 46-7 non-league win at El Cajon Valley.
Meanwhile, the Raiders erased an 0-4 start with a 28-14 win at Perris Orange Vista.
Both teams will have a chance to entertain their fans with home games this Friday.
Sweetwater (1-3) hosts the Serra Conquistadors (2-2) while Southwest (1-4) hosts the Calexico Bulldogs (1-3). Both non-league contests kick off at 7 p.m.
Marty Sesma scored five touchdowns to make last Friday’s win over the Braves (1-4) memorable.
The victory was equally memorable for new head coach Bryan Wagner, who picked up his first win with the SuHi program.
“After the first three weeks of tough games, it was great to get a win for the future of the program,” Wagner said.
The Red Devils lost 47-12 to University City, 49-0 to Carlsbad and 66-0 to Lincoln in their opening three games of the season. They took a 13-0 lead after the first play of the second quarter at El Cajon Valley.
Richard Malixi scored on a 16-yard run to get the scoring in the game going while interceptions by Shane Burris and Carlos Alvarez kept the hosts off the scoreboard.
Sesma scored the first of his string of five TDs on the opening play of the second quarter on a two-yard run. He extended the Sweetwater lead by scoring on a one-yard run for his second touchdown of the game.
However, the Braves got on the scoreboard after Darrel Davis returned the ensuing kickoff for an 86-yard touchdown.
The Devils did the rest of the scoring in the contest to dampen the spirit of El Cajon Valley’s homecoming crowd.
Sesma, who gained 251 yards in the game, scored on a 14-yard run following a pair of field goals to give the visitors a 32-7 lead at halftime. He tacked on two more scores in the second half.
After an interception return by Robert Hewett placed the ball at the two-yard line, Sesma promptly bowled into the end zone for his fourth TD of the game. He later scored on a seven-yard run.
Remarkably, the game was the season debut for Sesma, who had missed SuHi’s opening three games with a thumb injury.
The school record for most touchdowns in one game is six scored by James Primus in a game against Hilltop on Nov. 5, 1982.
During a postgame television interview, Sesma called the performance an “amazing feeling,” but quickly added that he couldn’t have done it without the support of his teammates.
The Devils will face a Serra team coming off a 31-14 non-league loss to visiting West Hills last Friday. Timmy Zebroski has thrown six touchdown passes this season and scored five rushing touchdowns. Myles Bryant also has scored five rushing touchdowns for the Conquistadors.
Southwest rolled up 429 total yards in recording its first win of the season. The Raiders rushed 52 times for 292 yards to control the line of scrimmage.
David Espinoza (5-of-17, 137 yards) threw a pair of touchdown passes — one each to Joe Young (one catch, 53 yards) and Xzavier Thomas (one catch, 21 yards).
Daniel Belton (five carries, 16 yards) scored two rushing touchdowns.
Joshua Sanchez led Southwest’s ground assault by rushing 24 times for 154 yards. Leonard Hoar rushed 13 times for 89 yards.
Sanchez finished the game with 158 all-purpose yards. He also made an interception on defense. Young, Hoar and Thomas each made one fumble recovery in the game.
Omar Platas supplied all four extra-point kick conversions.
Despite going winless in their first four games, the Raiders had been scoring points. Southwest had racked up 70 points in those four earlier losses.
On the season, Espinoza has passed for 523 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions.
Sanchez has rushed 76 times for 477 yards and scored three touchdowns. He’s also caught 10 passes for 217 yards and two more touchdowns.
Sanchez is averaging 138.8 total yards per game and leads the team with five touchdowns. He also has two interceptions on defense.
Belton (44 carries, 216 yards) ranks second on the team with four touchdowns.
Calexico is coming off a 25-14 non-league loss at Thermal Desert Mirage last Friday. Jorge Villalobos and Ernesto Covarrubius each have scored three touchdowns this season to lead the Bulldogs.
Titans top Norsemen 38-7,move up to No. 10 in weekly rankings
At the midpoint of the 2017 high school football season, the cream has finally started to rise to the top. The San Diego Section weekly rankings have been in flux in recent weeks and the Eastlake Titans, riding a three-game winning streak, have finally cracked the top 10 list.
The 10th-ranked Titans will hope to show the rankings makers they have the right stuff to stick when they host the unranked but red hot Chula Vista Spartans Friday at 7 p.m.
The Spartans are riding a three-game winning streak of their own and appear to be improving each game.
However, that can also be said of Eastlake, which dominated the visiting Valhalla Norsemen, 38-7, in last Friday’s non-league encounter.
The Titans played to their strength by scoring five rushing touchdowns, including two by senior Rayshawn Parks-Price (10 carries, 89 yards) and one each by juniors Ryzhon McCoy (five carries, 67 yards), Daniel Amon (three carries, 18 yards) and Parker Merrifield (11 carries, 141 yards).
Amon (8-of-12, 56 yards) and McCoy (1-of-2, five yards) did not complete a touchdown pass but also did not throw an interception.
The touchdowns were the first of the season for Parks-Price.
Eastlake rolled up 317 rushing yards to brace its victory. Defensively, the Titans recorded six sacks, two fumble recoveries and one interception.
Josh McCurty and Donyal Thompson each registered two sacks while Christian Coronado and Talon Lazio each had one sack.
In a show of team depth, 25 different players logged tackles or assists. McCurty led the group with 16 stops, followed by Jalen Graham with 10.
Dylan Kohler and Robby Hughes each made fumble recoveries while Jalyn Jackson had one interception for 17 yards. Jackson also had one kickoff return for 24 yards.
D.J. Del Fierro finished the game with eight kicking points — five point-after-touchdown conversions and a 27-yard field goal.
Lancers top Trojans in battle of Hilltop Drive
The Hilltop Lancers snapped a three-game losing streak by taming Hilltop Drive rival Castle Park, 50-14, last Friday.
The Lancers had been outscored 141-16 in non-league setbacks to Eastlake (21-7), Grossmont (64-3) and Olympian (56-6) but broke out of their scoring slump in a big way. Hilltop racked up 514 all-purpose yards, scoring seven touchdowns (four passing, three rushing).
Dylan McCoy (four catches, 77 yards) and Max Ugarte (five catches, 88 yards) each had two receiving touchdowns while Jeremiah Rivera (eight carries, 113 yards) scored two rushing touchdowns. Joey Castillo (five carries, 29 yards) rushed for one touchdown and also had a two-point conversion.
David Delgado supplied six extra-point kick conversions.
Hilltop (2-3) led 28-0 at the end of the first quarter and 36-0 at halftime. The Lancers built a 50-7 lead through three quarters as the host Trojans dropped to 0-5 on the season.
“It was good to get back in the win column,” Hilltop head coach Drew Westling said. “We want to continue building momentum as we head into our bye week after Escondido (this Friday).”
Daniel McPherren completed 14 of 24 passing attempts for 201 yards with three touchdowns and one interception while Castillo completed five of six passing attempts for 69 yards with one touchdown.
The Lancers recorded four sacks — two by Jedidiah Humphrey and one each by Alex Torres and Dennis Torres.
Castle Park’s touchdowns came on a run by Joe Chesser and a pass play from Diego Martinez to Chris Arana.
There were some dazzling plays in the non-league contest: Arana had a 62-yard kick return in the game while Rivera reversed field to score one of his touchdowns.
Hilltop plays at Escondido (2-3) this Friday while Castle Park also travels north to take on San Pasqual (3-2) in another non-league game.
In other non-league games last Friday:
Mater Dei Catholic 30, La Jolla 28
The host Crusaders claimed a see-saw non-league battle to the delight a homecoming crowd.
The Crusaders took an early 13-0 lead as quarterback Cameron Smith scored on two short runs.
The Vikings responded with two passing touchdowns from quarterback Trevor Scully to take a 14-13 lead. But Aiden Calvert ripped off a touchdown run to put Mater Dei Catholic up 20-14 at halftime.
The second half produced more points for both teams:
Smith scored on a nine-yard run late in the third quarter to extend the Crusaders lead to 27-14. La Jolla took the lead, 28-27, with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
But the hosts got one final chance with the ball and made it count as Andres Septien kicked a 23-yard field goal with 14.2 seconds left to propel the Crusaders in front, 30-28, for the dramatic victory.
Smith finished the game with three touchdown runs for Mater Dei Catholic.
Trevor Scully passed for 264 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in the loss. Gabe Solis had 10 catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
Mater Dei Catholic (2-2) hosts Oceanside (1-3) in a non-league game this Friday.
Victory Christian Academy 56, Horizon Prep 42
The Knights won their second game in a row by steamrolling the Lions for 660 total yards and eight touchdowns in an eight-man game played last Friday at Valhalla High School.
Victory Christian Academy racked up 565 rushing yards to lead the way to victory.
Adam White collected 217 rushing yards on 17 carries and scored three touchdowns.
Steve Stinson rushed for 168 yards on nine carries and scored four touchdowns.
Quarterback Larry Oldham III completed a 71-yard scoring pass to Josh Carlson, who also added four conversion points.
Stinson leads the team in scoring with six touchdowns in three games.
The hosts recorded five sacks — three by White, two by Edwin Munoz — and two interceptions by Jalen Wilson.
Victory Christian (2-1) next plays a non-league game at the San Diego Jewish Academy (2-1) on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
Mariners stand tall, hand Centurions first loss of season
Sixteen high school football teams in the San Diego Section boasted undefeated records heading into last Friday’s slate of games. Three of those teams tasted defeat to fall from the ranks of the undefeated.
The Mar Vista Mariners stood in the way of a perfect season for the University City Centurions after claiming an exciting 28-21 come-from-behind non-league victory.
“It was a great team win for us,” Mariner head coach Tyler Arciaga underscored. “I thought all phases did a nice job. Our front seven did a great job keeping pressure on the quarterback (UC’s Gunnar Gray) and forcing him to throw off-balance. Our secondary bent but didn’t break and overall held them to 21 points. They were averaging 45 points a game prior to that.
“Special teams did a nice job recovering a free-kick after a safety and limited their returns. We also blocked a PAT (point-after-touchdown kick).
“Our offense did a great job controlling the tempo of the game and keeping their explosive offense off the field,” Arciaga said. “It’s a great win for us going into Santana this week. We, as coaches, need to make sure we don’t have a let-down this week and continue to keep the momentum going.”
Mar Vista (3-2) scored four touchdowns in the game but started off in a 2-0 hole after the host Centurions (4-1) recorded a safety. The Mariners, however, recovered the ball on the ensuing free kick and capitalized on the takeaway when quarterback Jacob Beck scored on a short run to put the visitors ahead 7-2.
Mar Vista went up 14-2 on another Beck scoring run after a 74-yard run by teammate Marcelino Maclang put the ball at the two-yard line.
A touchdown pass from Gray to Casey Granfors trimmed the Mariner lead to 14-8. But the visitors responded with a time-consuming drive capped by a two-yard TD run by Tasi Sablan to move in front 21-8.
The Centurions responded with a 27-yard scoring pass from Gray to Tiago Quantz. However, Beck put the game out of reach by scoring his third rushing touchdown of the game to double the MV lead at 28-14.
Gray, who had entered the game with nine touchdowns and 740 passing yards, was able to lead UC to another touchdown but it was too little, too late.
Santana (3-2) is coming off a high-scoring 50-43 non-league victory against host Vincent Memorial (to hand the Scots their first loss of the season) and has won its last two games, including a 31-0 shutout against Clairemont on Sept. 15.
Late rally fails to lift Olympian in 38-28 loss at Point Loma
The Olympian Eagles have made a name for themselves in the San Diego Section this year with spirited comebacks late in games. The Eagles rallied for dramatic wins against Santa Fe Christian (41-28 in double overtime) and Poway (42-41).
Olympian attempted another rally in last Friday’s non-league matchup at Point Loma with 28 points. But a 28-0 deficit proved too steep to overcome in an eventual 38-28 setback.
The Pointers (3-2) jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and led 28-7 at halftime.
The Eagles (3-2) scored three second-half touchdowns but surrendered 10 second-half points to fall short in making up the difference.
Olympian quarterback Nico Mendoza completed 19 of 32 passing attempts for 219 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while Treyvion Davies (seven carries, 49 yards) scored one rushing touchdown. Mikkel Tyler secured the Eagles’ other touchdown on a fumble return.
Isaiah Williams had 10 catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns; David Tirey led the visitors with 92 rushing yards on 12 carries.
The visitors cut the Pointer lead to 10 points in the fourth quarter and were driving for more points but an interception cut the rally short.
Olympian out-gained Point Loma 396-392 in total yards in absorbing the loss.
Josh Ball rushed 18 times for 90 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns to lead the Pointers while quarterback Kyle Grady passed for 182 yards and one touchdown and also rushed eight times for 84 yards and a ground score.
Jared Desmond led Olympian defensively with 13 tackles while teammates Diego Sanchez, Dante Pressley and Rock Gonzalez each had 12 stops.
The Mustangs recorded one interception (Dayne Fehoko) and two fumble recoveries (Blake Yamamoto and Tyler). Tyler’s fumble recovery for a touchdown went for 95 yards.
Arnold Escano and Sanchez also caused fumbles in the game.
The Pointers collected three sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery in the game
The Eagles continue to score a lot of points but also give up points.
Olympian hosts the Cathedral Catholic Dons (1-3) in a high profile contest this Friday. The teams met for the Division III championship in 2011, with the Dons winning 41-0 at then Qualcomm Stadium. Kick-off for Friday’s non-league game is 7 p.m.
Miscues hurt Mustangs in narrow loss to visiting Cougars
The host Otay Ranch Mustangs (2-3) came up a wee bit short for the second consecutive week in falling, 14-13, to the Steele Canyon Cougars (2-2) in last Friday’s non-league matchup.
The lead changed three times in the game, with the Mustangs going up by scores of 7-0 and 13-7 before the Cougars rallied to capture the win.
The difference in the game came down to a missed point-after-touchdown conversion on Otay Ranch’s second touchdown.
Gus Espiritu (22 carries, 124 yards) and Sammy Paranada (five carries, 17 yards) each scored on touchdown runs to lead the hosts. Quarterback Alfredo Garcia rushed seven times for 116 yards, including a 53-yard gain from the line of scrimmage.
Garcia led the Mustangs with 152 total yards. He also recorded one punt for 27 yards.
Otay Ranch piled up 332 rushing yards but only managed to collect 48 yards in the passing department.
Garcia completed three of seven passing attempts for 36 yards with two interceptions. Puka Stewart completed his only passing attempt in the game for 12 yards.
Turnovers proved costly for the Mustangs in the game.
An interception by Billy Tellous set up Steele Canyon’s first touchdown, a 19-yard run by quarterback Thomas Fishburne that tied the game 7-7.
Fishburne played multiple roles with the Cougars in last Friday’s game. Besides leading the team at the signal-calling position, he also punted, kicked and played safety on defense.
He led the Cougars on an 81-yard field march to score the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter, completing a 19-yard scoring pass to Jordan Anderson.
Otay Ranch, down by one point, moved into field goal range in the late stages of the contest but fumbled the ball on an attempted reverse to end any chance of posting a dramatic come-from-behind win.
The loss was the second consecutive for the Mustangs, who lost 19-14 to visiting St. Augustine the previous week. Otay Ranch will attempt to get back in the win column with this Friday’s non-league game at Valhalla.
Steele Canyon, meanwhile, will get a chance to showcase itself in a home game against undefeated Mira Mesa (4-0) this Friday.
Kick-off for both games is 7 p.m.
In other non-league games last Friday:
•Edyel Morales scored on a 35-yard fumble recovery and Jay Rensfield scored on a seven-yard run to lead visiting Clairemont (3-2) to a 14-0 win over Montgomery (2-3). Rensfield recovered a fumble to set up the Chieftains’ second touchdown drive. The Aztecs, who host Calipatria (2-3) this Friday, have been outscored 55-0 in their last two trips to the gridiron.
•Brenton Bell scored four touchdowns and rushed for 204 yards to lead host Kearny (5-0) to a 41-0 victory against San Ysidro (3-2). The Cougars, who have now been outscored 90-14 in their last two games, will attempt to get back in the victory column when they host winless Francis Parker (0-4) this Friday.